SWOC analysis is a strategic planning method used to research external and internal factors which affect company success and growth. Firms use SWOC analysis to determine the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and challenges of their firm, products, and competition.
SWOC analysis is relevant to SWOT analysis. SWOT examines strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities. But it focuses on threats rather than challenges. The two are similar but they do have their differences, which is why firms may choose to use SWOC or SWOT.
How to use SWOC analysis
When beginning a SWOC analysis of a product or firm, you must go through each section individually. Starting with…
Strengths are features which benefit the company, such as product sales. For example, sales of Product X is growing 3% each month. But Product Z is seeing a 3% monthly decline. In this case, Product X, which brings in more revenue, is where the firm should focus their efforts to continue profit growth.
Strengths can also be more abstract. If you’ve decided to build a product because you know you can offer it cheaper than your competitor, this is an overall strength of the company. Or if you have records of better customer service via positive reviews online, this is a strength you can use to your advantage. Strengths can be documented through statistics, customer service reviews, and surveys.
The next step is noticing weaknesses. Weaknesses cause a company to struggle. For example, if you’ve decided to target a younger audience but your packaging is still dedicated to senior citizens, the new consumer base will struggle to connect to the product. This will show in reports, and cause an internal struggle within the company.
Weaknesses need to be documented and acknowledged to handle them promptly before it spreads and leads to overall destruction.
Opportunities are often external. They provide ways for firms to grow successfully. For example, a digital marketing agency helps a client develop an effective email marketing strategy. The agency has been thinking of doing graphic design so they offer a reduced fee to re-do the existing client’s logo. This is an opportunity for the agency to develop a new section of their business without having to devise a marketing plan because they can reach out to existing clients.
Being open to opportunities, knowing when to look for them, and how to act on them can boost a firm’s success. Documenting past opportunities can help create a plan on how to capitalize future opportunities.
The final step in SWOC analysis is acknowledging challenges. This is how SWOC and SWOT analysis differ because SWOT analysis focuses on threats.
Challenges are similar to threats but have the chance of being overcome. Threats have the potential to damage a firm, but challenges often already exist and need to be handled appropriately.
This step is crucial. If you’ve already examined the strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities but skip assessing challenges, you may be on the path to failure. Challenges can greatly undermine any progress you’ve made, so by ignoring this step, you’ve opened yourself up to potential failure.
When to use SWOC analysis
Use SWOC analysis whenever you have a business idea. Whether it’s starting a brand new business, a product, or a product upgrade. You can do SWOC analysis annually, quarterly, or monthly; it depends on what product or idea you’re using SWOC analysis for.
But if you choose to do SWOC analysis, remember it’s a great cost-effective way to reduce challenges and deter failure of a business venture or product.
Image © Weerapat Wattanapichayakul | Dreamstime.com – Graph analysis